Commentary

Gen Xers Spends More Time On Social Than Millennials

Everyone should still feel free to mock Millennials – after all, it’s kind of a national pastime, and it’s good for their character.

But we may have to revise some of the details of our disdain. Like the whole “can’t live without social media” thing. Turns out that’s not really them, and more, um… us.

In fact, Gen Xers, defined as adults ages 35-49, spend significantly more time on social media than Millennials, ages 18-34, according to a new report from Nielsen, based on data collected in the third quarter of 2016.

The older cohort clocks in at six hours and 58 minutes per week, compared to six hours and 19 minutes per week for the younger group. This reflects a general trend, as Gen Xers spend more time with media of all types than Millennials, at 31 hours and 40 minutes per week versus 26 hours and 49 minutes for the younger group.

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Additionally, the growth rate of social-media usage is higher among Gen Xers than Millennials, Nielsen found, with a 29% year-over-year increase in time spent for the former cohort versus a 21% increase for the latter.

The Nielsen study confirms that women spend more time than men on media in general and social media in particular. Women ages 18+ spend 26 hours and 41 minutes per week on all types of media, on average, compared to 23 hours and 27 minutes for men 18+. For social media, the weekly figures for women and men are six hours and 33 minutes and four hours and 23 minutes, respectively.

For both men and women, however, the latest figures represent a big increase over Nielsen’s previous survey, with the proportion of time spent on social media jumping 34% for women 18+ and 38% for men 18+.

Turning to devices, most age groups now access social media primarily via smartphones, but Millennials led the way here, with 78% of all time spent on social media on smartphones, compared to 69% for Gen Xers. Crunching the numbers, that’s about 296 minutes per week for Millennials, versus 288 minutes per week for Gen Xers.

Well, that’s one stereotype destroyed. Hey, now that I think about it, aren’t we the whiny entitled ones, too? Maybe it’s time for everyone to start making fun of Gen Xers (again!).
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